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  1. #1
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    Website Accessibility

    After reading I now realise no company is capable of producing a website for you that is “compliant with the law” in the UK.

    I’m not stating that there aren't professional web design companies out there that build good quality, best practice web sites for clients. There is. But you should be sceptical if contracting companies declare that they will create web sites that are “DDA-compliant” or “compliant with the law”. Quite simply, it’s It is not possible to provide a definitive specification for a fully accessible web site which will satisfy the requirements of the UK DDA and asking a web designer to design a website that is “DDA-compliant” or “compliant with the law” is impossible.

    Why? Until case law has been established (i.e. Some big corporate company is taken to court over the inaccessibility of it’s site) such claims cannot be made or honoured.

    Anyone here had experience with PAS 78?
    Last edited by sandpetra; Jul 25, 2006 at 12:17. Reason: Pas 78 Link

  2. #2
    doing my best to help c2uk's Avatar
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    Welcome to Sitepoint! Hope you stay around, we could use some more Accessibility people.

    You might be interested in the Accessibility & Usability Subforum here on Sitepoint, if you haven't already seen it:
    http://www.sitepoint.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=191
    Dan G
    Marketing Strategist & Consultant

  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy bluedreamer's Avatar
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    Welcome...

    I've never been asked to do a fully compliant DDA site - yet at least! I happened to be reading through the FFA docs today trying to find all the relevent points for web sites.

    You're right in saying that until someone gets prosectuted we don't really know where we stand. I have talked to clients about accessibility issues and their reactions were somewhat shocking - most saying that their products "weren't aimed at disabled people" or "it's only a small proportion of surfers so it doesn't matter"!

  4. #4
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    Cheers for the welcome!

    Accessibility is a bit of a frustrating passion of mine. I'm definately intending to hang around.

    My site is Accessibility101 and I try and feed into this what i learn as i go on. Been doing it for 5 years and still learn something surprising every day!

    I'll check out that other sub-forum link you provided...

    Thanks again!

  5. #5
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    It's a good point. At the moment all we (as business) can do is strive to implement as many criteria of accessibility as possible and constantly improve or tweak the code. I've read PAS78 and quite how you could create a site which is fully compliant and also meets our business needs I'm unsure.

    Has anyone actually been taken to court yet? I thought the RNIB had tried to level a case against someone but it went quiet.
    ------------------------------
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    SitePoint Guru worchyld's Avatar
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    The main problem with giving a client the "accessible website" is that if it's CMS driven, the client could easily break the accessibility because he/she isn't clued up on what to do, and what not to do; so unless you want a contract to ensure accessibility on all their content all the time (sorta like a maintenance contract), be sure to offer them a 1 hour free accessibility content writing tutorial.

  7. #7
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy
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    It's a nightmare educating clients on keeping their site accessible. Turn your back for 1 minute and suddenly their home page is filled with dozens of 500K images and all manner of text formatting horrors. My contract now states that I can 'initially assist' in helping their site become more accessible and provide a CMS 'equipped with functionality to allow you to keep your site accessible', but I don't guarantee DDA compliance and certainly will not take any responsibility for continued accessibilty compliance or any legal issues that may arise. It's an area I once thought I may choose to specialise in, but now it just seems like a complete nightmare to keep on top of and as someone mentioned, most clients really don't currently give a stuff about accessiblity (at least, not until the law suits start rolling in).

  8. #8
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    [QUOTE=23Musings

    Has anyone actually been taken to court yet? I thought the RNIB had tried to level a case against someone but it went quiet.[/QUOTE]


    Settled quietly out of court I heard...

  9. #9
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    Thanks for the info, hadn't heard that.

    Surprised River Island didn't get a suit after all the press. It does seem the fashion industry is particularly bad, I think I posted on here that Diesel have done an RI.
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    http://23musings.blogspot.com

  10. #10
    SitePoint Member Boss_Numbat's Avatar
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    There are mumblings and movement in the underbrush...

    Disability Rights Advocates Case: NFB (National Federation of the Blind) v. Target - Target Corporation Sued for Discrimination Against the Blind

    More available on this url: http://www.dralegal.org/cases/privat...b_v_target.php

    I think one of the first cases in this arena was the: Maguire v SOCOG.

    Maguire v SOCOG. HUMAN RIGHTS AND EQUAL OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION. DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION ACT 1992 (CTH). No H 99/115. BRUCE LINDSAY MAGUIRE. Complainant

    More available on the following url's:

    http://www.hreoc.gov.au/disability_r...9/DD000150.htm

    http://www.hreoc.gov.au/disability_r...v%20SOCOG3.htm

    As for the PAS78 documenation (guide), I have seen it, and around the same time Australian Treasury updated their 'eCommerce Best Practice Model' (6th March, 2006) - the guide is available here: http://www.ecommerce.treasury.gov.au...4_Chapter3.asp
    In dentibus anticis frustrum magnum spiniciae habes

    W3C Sites - http://www.w3csites.com/

  11. #11
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    Interesting stuff Boss, thanks!
    ------------------------------
    http://23musings.blogspot.com

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    SitePoint Zealot lutrov's Avatar
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    There's an interesting article on how Australian award winners fail the website accessibility test, which outlines just how clueless our government bodies like AGIMO are, even though their responsibility is apparently to:

    “make Australia a leader in the productive application of information and communications technologies to government administration, information and services.”
    Even their own website fails the accessibility test. Can you believe that?

  13. #13
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Tyssen's Avatar
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    Australia seems to be lagging behind the US & UK as far as accessibility issues go for sure.

  14. #14
    SitePoint Member Boss_Numbat's Avatar
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    Did you see the results on the W3C members (A List Apart or some place like that - do a search) - 421 Members, 22 met complaince when checked using W3C Validators... a staggering 2.1% actually 'walk the walk - they talk'...

    Sort of like, Internet2 - 407 member Universities... off memory - there are 10,000+ Universities globally.

    Oh - well, baby-steps... things are getting better everyday
    In dentibus anticis frustrum magnum spiniciae habes

    W3C Sites - http://www.w3csites.com/

  15. #15
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    Terminology is pretty important here - you can develop a WCAG compliant site, (or compliant templates if it is for a customer) but at this point in time you are correct that it is not really possible to create a DDA compiant web site. The scope of that legislation with respect to web sites has not yet been tested in court, and probably never will be. The SOCOG case was not prosecuted under British law, and therefore carries no precedant whatsoever.
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  16. #16
    SitePoint Evangelist Unit7285's Avatar
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    The term DDA-compliant may not have meaning in a strictly technical legal sense, but I think it's splitting hairs to object to the phrase when used in a marketing context. It's clear enough what developers who use this phrase are getting at. It gets the message across quickly and succinctly. Alternative explanations are cumbersome. The world would grind to a halt if we took everything 100% literally.

    The term 'compliance' is even used by the Disability Rights Commission (DRC) in relation to websites. (The DRC is the official organisation established by Act of Parliament to stop discrimination and promote equality of opportunity for disabled people.) If they're happy with it I don't see much of a problem.

    At present, there is no reported case law on the application of these provisions to websites. However, the Act explicitly refers to "access to and use of means of communication … and information services" as examples of services covered by these provisions, and the most recent statutory Code of Practice, authorised by the then Secretary of State for Education and Employment, includes commentary and examples that create a very strong anticipation that any future case law will support this interpretation of the Act.

    Despite the obligations created by the DDA, domestic research suggests that compliance, let alone the achievement of best practice on accessibility, has been rare. The Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB) published a report in August 2000
    on 17 websites, in which it concluded that the performance of high street stores and banks was "extremely disappointing".
    A separate report in September 2002 from the University of Bath described the level of compliance by United Kingdom universities with website industry guidance as "disappointing; and in November 2002, a report into 20 key "flagship" government websites found that 75% were "in need of immediate attention in one area or another". Recent audits of the UK's most popular airline and newspaper websites conducted by AbilityNet reported that none reached Priority 1 level conformance and only one had responded positively to a request to make a public commitment to accessibility.

    Source: The Web - Access and Inclusion for Disabled People - A Formal Investigation conducted by the Disability Rights Commission. 2004

    www.drc.org.uk/Docs/theweb1.rtf
    Paul

  17. #17
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    I think you are mis-understanding me a little - my complaint is not with the word 'compliance', but the phrase 'compliance with the DDA'
    The fact that the DRC with the heavily vested interests use that term is fairly meaningless. In fact, their report that the vast majority of sites are not accessible makes it even more clear that the DDA cannot be used as justification: Thousands of examples to choose from, but still no sign of a prosecution!
    On a similar vein, why do the Guidelines for Government Websites specifically mandate WCAG A compliance, (later amended to AA), if the DDA already covers? The only logical assumption is that the DDA does not apply.

    In both cases, the intentions of the DRC and of the OGC are irrelevant - the opinion of a Judge is all that counts.
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